As organizations become larger and their presence becomes more widespread, an increasing number of companies today are faced with the reality of having to build global teams. This can pose new challenges such as co-ordinating between remote teams, building a unified culture across global locations and setting clear objectives and goals for the organization as a whole. But along with these challenges come newfound opportunities; global teams are a great way to bring in new perspectives, opinions and skills. The key to realizing this immense potential is setting in place processes that help you build a strong global team. Here are five ways how to build a successful global team.
1. Set a clear purpose for teams
The biggest challenge in global team management is to get teams to coordinate seamlessly. This can happen only when they believe they are working towards a common goal, regardless of their geographical distance.l. This is why it is critical to set clear, objective and common goals across teams. A measurable goal can help disparate teams feel more connected to each other and shed the ‘us vs. them’ mentality that can easily develop in such situations. To make the common goal more compelling, it is essential that the rewards of meeting the goal are distributed equally between the teams involved, even if they are in separate locations.
2. Respect diverse cultures
The biggest advantage of global teams is diversity when developing global teams, but far too often, it can seem more like a challenge. Each culture has its own unique way of working, their own set of values and their own rules of etiquette. When creating cross-country teams, it’s important that each respects the culture of the other and does not try to superimpose one over the other. To this effect, it can be useful to conduct cultural sensitization sessions before commencing work to ensure that each team understands and respects the culture of the other.
3. Create opportunities for interaction
Getting to know your team members better is essential to working cohesively with them. While this happens naturally when all your team members are under a single roof, it can be more challenging when teams are split across countries. A natural pitfall in this system is that teams interact with each other on a purely need-basis, with little opportunity for small talk. Because of this, they don’t get to know each other on a more personal level, leading the door wide open for an ‘us vs. them’ mindset. To remedy this, your global team management process must actively include opportunities for non-work related interaction or cross-team building.
4. Leverage the latest technology
Technology today has advanced to such a great degree that it can bring down barriers and allow teams to feel like they are in the same room, even if they are spread across continents. And this is why most organizations are capitalizing on the advantages of global teams by recruiting talent from different countries. As an organization with remote teams, technology is your greatest tool. You can encourage video calls and conferences to help employees interact face-to-face. Document sharing systems are also helpful to track progress among various teams and help them coordinate with each other.
5. Create standard team processes
Simple misunderstandings are often the root cause of any conflict. This possibility of a misunderstanding is exacerbated when teams come from diverse cultures and speak different languages. To minimize the risk of this happening when managing teams in different countries, it’s important to set in place standardized team processes that every member is expected to follow. For instance, tasks need to be assigned clearly, requirements should be outrightly stated and processes should be detailed.
Global teams are increasingly becoming the norm as advancements in logistics and technology continue to break down barriers. These teams have immense promise for growth and innovation, provided your organization sets in place the right processes to harness this potential. This makes it vital for those companies who have realised the advantages of a global team to first set processes in place for a global team management